There are now over 400 million Instagrammers just waiting to become your followers! Instagram is highly visual platform that provides small business with a great opportunity to bring customers behind the scenes and create a real connection. Below are some tips to get your started using Instagram for your business!
Having a cohesive Instagram feed is key to gaining Instagram followers. Followers should instantly see your style and know what you have to offer. Take a look at your product line or brand style and let that inform your style. Perhaps your products are colorful and bright or they are more neutral and desaturated. Don’t copy what is working for others, do what will work for you!
Use Hashtags (Wisely)
Hashtags help connect you to your audience. Try out new hashtags to connect with new Instagram followers. Do not use non-relevant hashtags just because they are popular – you will not find your target market in those hashtags. Put hashtags in a comment below your caption, so that they do not clutter your feed, and use your IPhone’s custom typing shortcuts feature to auto populate your most commonly used hashtags.
Posting consistently is important but do not post five images at once. Your followers will probably not notice if you don’t post for a day or two but they will notice if you take over their feed. Using an Instagram scheduling software allows you to batch upload and then schedule posts to go out at predetermined times – check out Latergramme and TakeOff for free options and OnlyPult for a more robust paid option.
Instagram is a visual platform so you must have beautiful photos/graphics but that does not mean you must have a fancy camera and a background in photography. Using your phone and a sunny corner in your house can get you halfway there. Photo editing apps can help you get all the way there. You can do amazing things with Instagram’s filters and editing tools – play with them all to find what works for you. In addition, there are a lot of free photo editing apps, so give them a try and see what works for you.
Instagram can benefit you in two ways – you can create an audience for your product/service and you can also create a community for yourself. Use industry hashtags to connect with your peers - you never know when collaboration may happen. A heartfelt comment on a peer’s account will not only make another business owner’s day but they may notice your products/services, follow you, and want to work with you.
People like to know whom they are buying from, especially with small brands. You started your business for a reason – share this with your Instagram followers. Let them know what inspired you to create your product/service and how you believe it will help them. While your feed shouldn’t be filled with photos of your messy kitchen (hey, running a business comes at a price!), get real every now and then and share personal things.
A feed full of staged product shots on a white background is boring! Instagram is all about creativity, so get creative! Post photos of work in progress, your furry friend who ‘helps’ you fill orders, customer feedback graphics, or take your products on an outing – find a pink wall downtown and ask a stranger to model your product! The consensus is that Instagram can work for any company but you will need to get more creative about content if you are not selling a physical product (and you should probably get creative even if you do) – share lessons learned, behind the scenes photos, quotes that express company culture, etc. A good first step, to see if you are ready for Instagram, is to plan out a month of content – that’s about 30-60 posts. If you can easily fill a month with interesting, relevant, and beautiful content that will resonate with your target audience, you are in the right place.